(This is a two part post-read part one for the full story)
As you already read in the first part of this story, I arrived in Shanghai just fine. Upon locating my room and filling up on a massive bowl of soup, I immediately went to sleep with a full day of work ahead of me…
Friday, September 7:
I woke up Friday morning feeling refreshed and a bit anxious since my first day of work loomed ahead of me. I got ready with coverage of the Democratic National Convention as background noise (the television in my hotel room has CNN). After a couple of outfit changes, I managed to find something professional, yet chic, then I made my way to the hotel lobby to wait for my ride to company headquarters. I was surprised to find that there were many other people eagerly and anxiously waiting their first day. My fellow co-workers hailed from various parts of the U.S. and the U.K. and all of us exchanged our Shanghai arrival stories. Our transportation finally arrived and I managed to secure a window seat of the van. I looked out the window in sheer amazement at all of the people, noise, traffic and large buildings that whizzed by me that Shanghai morning.
After pulling up into company headquarters, we were immediately escorted to the Bank of China to open up bank accounts. The bank was clean, modern looking, and very efficient. After filling out some paperwork, I went to a teller who instructed me to choose a six digit pin number (much different from the U.S. four digit pin) and after signing my name on several documents, I received a bank card on the spot for future use. Once everyone completed the same process, it was back to headquarters for training.
Training went pretty smoothly that morning. The morning consisted of housing matters, money matters, contract and workplace matters and even a Chinese lesson on how to order food (we were expected to order our lunch in Chinese). After several hours it was time for lunch and upon exiting the training area, I noticed that the sky was incredibly dark with not a ray of sunshine in sight. Once I got downstairs, I noticed that it was raining hurricane style and people were running all around the street trying to duck and dodge the downpour. The trainers managed to find us some umbrellas and they were anxiously on the phone arranging taxi cabs. Upon exiting the building and making my way to one of the available taxi cabs, I noticed that there were puddles of water as high as my ankles! I managed to stay somewhat dry and after a ten minute ride, we pulled up to the restaurant.
The restaurant was very busy with lots of shouting, patrons, and waiters running around (which means it had to be good!). Due to time constraints, we were unable to order our meals in Chinese; however, we were escorted to a back room full of food dim sum style. There were a variety of dishes that were set up on rotating table. I dug into all the selections without hesitation (okay I was not going to try the squid), and to my delight, everything tasted delicious. The conversation flowed and I spoke to the trainers about life in Shanghai and anything else noteworthy. Lunch came to an end and then it was back to headquarters for part two of training.
|So Much Food!!!|
We finally arrived to the center which was located very close to the metro. Another major plus location wise was it was located inside a new and modern shopping center. I was excited to see that there were some of my favorite international stores such as H&M, Marks & Spencer’s and Carrefour. I was given the tour of my center and all of the local teachers and students were pleased to meet me. I tried to make small talk with some of the foreign teachers but I was given an icy welcome and dismissive responses in return. I settled into more paperwork and training for several hours then it was the end of my day.
|I'm Working next door to a soon to be Weight Watchers...must be a sign...|
|Just some of the awesome shops in my shopping mall...bye bye paycheck!|
I had a one hour commute ahead of me back to the hotel and later that night, I had dinner with some of my new co-workers. We decided on an Indian restaurant and it was very delicious. Laughter and more stories were exchanged as we shared our meals. The idea of going out came up, but I was much too tired to commit to a full night of going out and I assured them that maybe I would be up to it tomorrow.
Thus concludes my first 48 hours in China. Keep up for my upcoming posts in the future!